Entertainment British Soap Awards 'set to axe male and female categories'
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The British Soap Awards are reportedly set to axe male and female categories ahead of its return next month following a two-year absence.
Sources claim that instead of Best Actor and Actress, stars from much-loved British soaps will battle it out for the new Best Leading Performer award.
Last weekconfirmed that the British Soap Awards - hosted by - will return live to ITV this June after being off air for two years due to restrictions.
The move follows The Brits which scrapped gender classifications this year, with Adele beating Ed Sheeran to Artist of the Year.
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However, the gender neutral refresh has sparked controversy among soap stars, with several actresses fearing they will 'miss out'.
A soap source told: 'There are genuine fears that it's going to be even harder for soap actresses to get recognised.
'There are a number of actresses who feel they are going to miss out because of the woke changes.
The source added: 'It's going to be interesting to see how it all works out and who makes it on to the short-list.'
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MailOnline has contacted representatives for ITV for comment.
Past winners of the Best Actress award include Lucy Pargeter (who plays Chas Dingle in Emmerdale), Lucy Fallon (who plays Bethany Platt in Coronation Street) and Charlotte Bellamy (who plays Laurel Thomas in Emmerdale).
It follows the award for Sexiest Male and Female, voted by the public, being axed in 2015.
The annual ceremony had been called off for the second year in a row in 2021 due to 'ongoing safety measures' that had been put in place for cast members during filming for their shows to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
The awards return this year and will take place in London at The Hackney Empire and will honour the nation’s biggest and most-loved soap operas.
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Hosted by Phillip Schofield, the live awards will be presented by an array of well-known faces from across the TV and showbiz world.
The five biggest soaps - Coronation Street, Doctors, EastEnders, Emmerdale and Hollyoaks - will be battling it out to win recognition for their work over the past year.
Some of the biggest faces from all five soaps will be hitting the red carpet for the most star-studded and glamorous event in the soap calendar.
The long list categories for the public voted awards will open Tuesday 19 April at 10am.
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